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CSA: Confederate States of America Reviews

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James A

Super Reviewer

December 23, 2009
In this "what If" we get to see what would happen if the US was Alabama.

Super Reviewer

May 4, 2007
[font=Century Gothic]"CSA: The Confederate States of America" is a chilling and meticulously researched faux documentary set in an alternate reality where the Confederate States of America won the Civil War(Here termed by one character as "The War of Northern Aggression"; proof that the victors really do write the histories.) and slavery was never abolished. On a limited budget, the movie emulates Ken Burns' style perfectly, complete with readings, archival footage, talking heads and clips of movies thankfully never made. Included are fake commercials about products which actually used to exist. [/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Slavery is the root of all evil and it is frightening to see a modern world where it is still in use. Not only is it the cause of racism(our world and this alternate world do have striking similarities which I suppose is the point) but it also slows the country's development to a crawl. Throughout, Canada shines as a beacon of hope, drawing the brightest northwards.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]However, I do wish that the filmmakers had included more historic personalities in the mix instead of relying on the fictional Fauntroy family.(Political dynasties rarely last beyond two or three generations. Stupidity tends to creep in eventually.)[/font]

Super Reviewer

January 11, 2010
CSA is a thought provoking and humorous look at the sheer absurdities of white-centric world views. Like Wolfe's "Colored Museum" turned on its head, this uses parody, irony and extreme situations to jolt the viewer into an uncomfortable confrontation with certain types of thought.
Lovable M

Super Reviewer

November 22, 2008
It was SOOOOO boring!!!

But, it was an interesting concept and the way the film was put together was really unique in my opinion. I don't know if I believe the story though. That's not what I think would have happened.
June 9, 2011
This film gets called a "mockumentary", but don't expect fun. Only an hour and a half long, but I felt like it was three hours long. Well-made, hits home but not head-on. Worth watching.
November 9, 2008
I laughed, I admit it. But, I was thoroughly disgusted and horrified at the same time....

I found myself wondering if that "parallel universe" would ever know such a wonderful thing as what we have and are now being blessed with. I don't really see this as a mockumentary bc, the scenes depicted within it are VERY realistic, such as with the Slave Shopping Network & cigarette commercials.

This film is a sick, morbid, disgusting, & realistic depiction of what this country would have turned into if the South had won the American Civil War.

September 14, 2010
It's interesting to see the wide range of reactions to this mockumentary. The mere fact that some amount of viewers are offended by it or at least chop it down a notch for supposed factual errors should arouse one's interest in viewing it.

Allow me to help explain this. It is a commentary on actual race relations in America, but it wears a few disguises - satire, historical thought-experiment, and political commentary among them. Taken all together, it is not an offensive movie at all. There was a Southerner who reviewed it as offensive to Southerners, but this person clearly had not paid attention. If it was offensive to Southerners, the movie had it out for Northerners as well.

I dismiss as silly comments about historical accuracy among the user reviews. Partly I dismiss them because the claims of inaccuracy are flawed. For instance, the old "the Civil War was not fought over slavery" canard has come out - this is a pointless assertion, as while secession may have been the legal machination leading to war, we should know the Civil War and secession were all about the issue of slavery, political manipulations aside. Mostly, however, I dismiss such quibbles mostly because this is a film that seeks to show us established or historical reality with just a little twist of humor and absurdity. It is not merely an historical thought-experiment, as it follows too closely the actual history of the USA.

Despite this, there are some clever inventions - for instance, the nature of America's major wars in the 20th century, and the ways in which cultural upheaval played out in the 60s. Do not expect some sort of mere comedy sketch show here. Ultimately it's not about the laffs, but the gaffes. The most important scenes are cringe-worthy and educational.
March 19, 2010
I wholeheartedly disagree with the direction this alternate universe takes. Yes, if the southern states had won the war, some of the beginning stages may have looked the same, but moving into our modern age, the pieces just don't fit. I will praise the filmmakers for some fun "parallels" that were amusing, but for the most part I just wasn't willing to be taken down the road they showed me. However, the quick, two-minute bit at the end explaining some of the historical evidences they used to base some of the film's sequences, was quite interesting.
October 24, 2009
This mockumentary presents itself as a San Fransisco-Area television broadcast of a formerly-banned BBC (renamed the ?BBS?) documentary about the C.S.A. The idea is that the Confederate ambassador to France and England persuaded them to enter the war on behalf of the south and thus the South won. The movie unfolds in a Ken Burns style, with stand-ins for people from the Civil War documentary and a regular update of the events up to today. The film is broken up by commercials from the modern C.S.A. landscape, in which a modern slave state still exists (or did well into the late 20th century).

The film is an interesting challenge, as it?s both funny and apt, with strong critique of our culture and our tendencies. The timeline is mostly believable, and the racist commercials really challenge the viewer. I?m reminded quite a bit of Bamboozled, which also takes on modern racism, but even more shockingly. The layer of mockumentary makes the film less gut-churning and discomfiting, though it still raises some interesting questions.

A few other thoughts:

* The production values are really great. The bits of traditional Americana worked into the film succeed marvelously. For instance, the film re-uses a JFK speech from 1960 in which he characterizes our struggle with USSR as one about ?freedom and slavery,? to suggest that JFK was an abolitionist. Also a gem: the clip of the 1940s movie ?I Married an Abolitionist.?
* I thought the plotline about the prominent American family whose sons regularly have a role in the government was a bit contrived ? it doesn?t really have an analogue.
* The bit at the end detailing some of the key imagery that resided in modern American consumer culture is particularly shocking. The two most shocking products to me: Niggerhair tobacco (a real brand that existed until the 1950s) and Darkie toothpaste (which was eventually changed to ?Darlie? but was still sold over seas as ?Black Man Toothpaste?). Good lord. The film also mentions Coon Chicken, which we all remember from Ghost World.
* One downside to this alternate history approach is that it varies things enough that it would be hard to bring this film back to talk about the actual plight of systemic racism and racial inequality still in play in our culture, particularly now that we have a black president and are suddenly ?post-racial.?
August 16, 2009
Very intelligent and a hilarious way of seeing what couldve been. America is scared to admit its own racism and this movie shoves it down americas throat
July 22, 2009
An interesting "what if" movie, though I doubt that in the South had won, they would have annexed the entire US, or kept slavery up to the 21 century.
August 20, 2007
some of it was funny some of it was childish...someof it was a little boring, it plays out like a history channel show...but with wrong information...funny concept
"gleamin yo Teefus"
June 19, 2008
OMG, I laughed out loud at this. It's a ficticious look at what would have happened had the South won the civil war. I am thankful all over again that they didn't!
October 21, 2006
What if? This movie really makes you think and realize just how fortunate we all are. Very believable and plausible.
July 2, 2008
For fans of Civil War history, history in general, or would just like to see a really original movie, it's simultaneously tongue-in-cheek and appalling. Reading through some of the apologists' reviews on various sites lamenting the portrayal of slaveowners, it's pretty clear that we've still got a ways to go to dispel the effective antebellum propaganda that the Civil War was about states' rights and not a state's right to own slaves (this phenomenon explained brilliantly in the book "Inhuman Bondage" and touched on in the movie in the discussion on how talk of the war focused not on the why of the war but the minute details of the actions of the soldiers in battles). While it's not a revolutionary idea that American slavery was bad, it's still a pretty fascinating look at how different our world would be if the notion of white supremacy had made its way to its logical conclusion. While some of it seems a bit over-the-top, especially the "commercial breaks", the filmmakers did a great job to remind us that advertisements for the "Coon Chicken Inn" were no mere parodies but actual products that were being sold right up 'til now (they mention Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima as the least offending of the examples they provide). The epilogue showing some of the historical facts the film centers around (such as the Confederates' plan to invade South America) is a sobering reminder that history's path can change in the briefest of moments. A great thought-provoking movie.
January 31, 2008
Very well made mock documentary of what would have happened if the south had won the war. The documentary part is really serious, but the commercial that play during it (the movie is presented like you are watching a tv documentary with commercials) are great.
April 13, 2008
The premise was interesting, but several aspects were horrible unrealistic. If the South had won, they would have been unable to annex the North, nor would the have been able to conquer the entirety of Latin and South Americas. Very humorous advertisements, though.
January 31, 2008
Interesting and very well done. I really enjoyed this view into alternative history and based on real facts as well. I really loved it. Nothing offensive in this mockumentary. All good.
November 21, 2007
A VERY cutting film that asks "What If the South Had Won the Civil War?" You'll be shocked, amused, and disgusted by the answer.
August 26, 2007
Some of the movies recreated to look dated are well done, some atrociously done. There are a few laughs with the commercials, but not much else. Fun to spot the terrible photoshopped pictures. Also, there are commercials for Darky Toothpaste and Coon Chicken.
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